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How I Voted: Final poll

Ohio State completed its storybook season by winning the national title on Monday. (AP)

Ohio State completed its storybook season by winning the national title on Monday. (AP)

How I Voted will be a weekly blog in which Ross Dellenger reveals his AP Top 25 voting.

1. Ohio State (UP 5)

2. Oregon (UP 1)

3. Alabama (DOWN 2)

4. TCU (UP 1)

5. Florida State (DOWN 3)

6. Michigan State (UP 1)

7. Baylor (DOWN 3)

8. Georgia Tech (UP 4)

9. Georgia (UP 2)

10. UCLA (UP 7)

11. Mississippi State (DOWN 3)

12. Clemson (UP 2)

13. Missouri (UP 5)

14. Ole Miss (DOWN 5)

15. Wisconsin (UP 4)

16. Kansas State (DOWN 6)

17. Boise State (NR)

18. Arizona (DOWN 5)

19. Arizona State (UP 1)

20. Utah (UP 1)

21. Southern Cal (UP 3)

22. Louisville (DOWN 7)

23. Auburn DOWN 7)

24. Arkansas (NR)

25. Memphis (NR)

Others considered: Oklahoma State, Navy, Tennessee, Marshall, Notre Dame, Stanford

Dropped: Nebraska (25), LSU (22), Minnesota (23)

New: Boise State (17), Arkansas (24), Memphis (25)

A look back: Here’s our preseason poll in August.

LSU’s DC search could “linger”; school flooded with top-flight college coordinators, NFL coordinators

LSU’s search for a defensive coordinator may last several more days, possibly through the weekend, and the position continues to receive interest from top-flight college coordinators and some NFL coordinators.

But any new names? That we don’t have.

John Chavis left LSU for Texas A&M, and the Tigers continue to search for a replacement. (Bill Feig)

John Chavis left LSU for Texas A&M, and the Tigers continue to search for a replacement. (Bill Feig)

Coach Les Miles has kept the search for John Chavis’ replacement tight-lipped, and only a handful of candidates have emerged. Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop is one of few who have officially and seriously interviewed for the position.

The search for Chavis’ replacement could “linger,” according to Footballscoop.com, a trusted and often accurate site with deep roots in the college coaching community.

LSU has been “flooded” with interest in the position from a host of coaches, including NFL assistants, one source close to the staff told The Advocate. Former and current NFL coordinators have applied, the source said.

It’s not a stretch to think LSU could pull an NFL assistant coach or coordinator. Georgia, for instance, recently hired St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for the same position.

Surging salaries for assistants in major college football makes the transition from pro to college more understandable. Sixteen college football assistants last year made at least $800,000 a year, according to USA Today.

LSU paid Chavis the third-most among college assistants: $1.3 million, a salary that’s expected to remain similar for his replacement. In September 2009, the Los Angeles Times, citing an NFL source, reported that the average NFL defensive coordinator made approximately $850,000, a number that’s likely risen.

Monday marks the 13th day the Tigers will be without a defensive coordinator after Chavis bolted for the same job at Texas A&M a day after LSU lost the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame.

The recruiting dead period ends on Wednesday, a day first thought to be a deadline of sorts for Miles to hire a coordinator. It doesn’t necessarily appear that way any longer.

LSU will host highly rated prospects for official visits the three next weekends leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 4, but the biggest of the groups – especially for defensive players – is expected to be next weekend (Jan. 23-25), said Shea Dixon, a recruiting reporter for 247Sports.

“They’d need someone before Jan. 23,” Dixon said.

Brick Haley is a candidate to be promoted to DC. (Bill Feig)

Brick Haley is a candidate to be promoted to DC. (Bill Feig)

LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley is an in-house candidate, and one former LSU star – Marcus Spears – is pushing to get the job.

Miles, assistant director of football operations Dean Dingman and Miles’ agent, George Bass, are leading the search, multiple sources said. Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is “taking time” with the search and knows “the importance” of the hire, sources said.

Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009. He’s been a defensive coordinator once – for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He coached linebackers for the Bears and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.

Haley’s promotion could make room for a popular name: Ed Orgeron. The former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach is out of a job and lives in Mandeville.

Shoop, 48, pulled his name from the search after interviewing with Miles last week. He was not offered the job during the interview but was not ruled out for the gig, sources said.

He received a new three-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Marcus Spears says LSU should make Brick Haley its DC

DALLASMarcus Spears says LSU needs to stick a Brick in that hole in its football staff.

The former LSU and Dallas Cowboys defensive end said Saturday that the school should promote defensive line coach Brick Haley to replace the departed John Chavis.

“They need to stop messing around and hire Brick,” said Spears, who was in attendance at CFP National Championship Game media day. “He knows organization and he’s been a defensive coordinator before.”

Haley, who arrived at LSU along with Chavis in 2009, was defensive coordinator at Baylor from 1999-2001.

It was initially thought Haley would follow Chavis to Texas A&M. But with LSU’s search for a replacement dragging on well into its second week, there is growing speculation Haley could be in line for a promotion.

During Oregon’s media day session Ducks defensive coordinator Don Pellum, whose name has been connected in some reports to the Tigers’ vacancy, brushed off questions about whether he’s been contacted by LSU.

“I’m just trying to win a football game,” said Pellum, a former Oregon player and long-time assistant.

Spears, who just completed his first football season as an analyst on the SEC Network, still lives in the Dallas suburb of Frisco.

He said rarely does a trip back to Baton Rouge go by without someone talking to him about his 20-yard interception return for a touchdown off Oklahoma quarterback Jason White in the 2004 Sugar Bowl, the difference in LSU’s 21-14 BCS-clinching victory.

Actually, Spears said watching Ohio State’s 42-35 Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama, the 41-yard pick six by Buckeyes defensive end Steve Smith reminded him of his play.

“He dropped into coverage just like I did,” Spears said.

Report: Ron Zook candidate for LSU defensive coordinator opening

Ron Zook is a candidate at LSU, one report says. (AP)

Ron Zook is a candidate at LSU, one report says. (AP)

A new name surfaced Friday for LSU’s opening at defensive coordinator: Ron Zook.

The former Florida and Illinois head coach and Saints defensive coordinator is on LSU’s “radar,” according to coachingsearch.com. Zook, 60, is currently the Green Bay Packers assistant special teams coach. The Packers meet the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in the NFL playoffs.

A source close to the LSU staff told The Advocate that Zook is not a serious candidate.

Zook’s resume is a long one that spans college and professional football. He’s been the defensive coordinator at Kansas, Cincinnati and Florida. He was fired in both of his head coaching stints at Florida (2002-04) and Illinois  (2005-11) and then took off two years before joining the Packers.

Zook, from Ohio, has only specialized in coaching defensive backs during his career. He’s also coached special teams at numerous stops.

LSU is 10 days into the search to replace John Chavis, who bolted for Texas A&M last week following the Music City Bowl. Several candidates have been contacted by the school, and Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop interviewed for the job Wednesday but removed himself from the search that night.

Ponchatoula 2016 OL commits to LSU

Donavaughn Campbell, a 6-foot-5, 345-pound offensive lineman from Ponchatoula, committed to LSU’s 2016 class on Thursday, fulfilling what he says has been a life-long dream.

Recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson offered Campbell a scholarship on Thursday, and it took just seconds for Campbell to commit to his in-state school.

“It’s a great feeling. Going to LSU was just a dream. It’s reality now,” he said.

Wilson and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes recruited Campbell, whose older brother Christian is a Georgia Tech quarterback commit. LSU was the first to offer Campbell, he said, but he was receiving interest from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Louisiana-Lafayette. Campbell has not been rated by the major recruiting sites.

A month from the 2015 National Signing Day, LSU now has four commits for the 2016 class: Campbell, Donaldsonville receiver Stephen Sullivan, Texas receiver Dee Anderson and Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks.

Campbell said he attended four games this season: Sam Houston, Alabama, Ole Miss and Kentucky.

He said LSU plans to play him at guard, but Ponchatoula coach Hank Tierney said Campbell could play tackle.

“He’s got great quickness and agility. He’s got a chance to be a good player,” Tierney said. “Everybody that watched him on film liked him. I’m sure he’ll be one of the top offensive linemen in American last year.”

Report: Penn State’s Bob Shoop, candidate at LSU, gets new contract

Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, a candidate for LSU’s defensive coordinator job, is expected to receive a new contract with a salary of near $1 million , according to a report from Fox Sports, and Shoop suggested on Thursday that LSU’s timeline to hire a coach wouldn’t allow him to stay in the race.

Shoop interviewed with LSU coach Les Miles for the open coordinator gig Wednesday and then tweeted this Wednesday night, a clear sign he was staying with the Nittany Lions:

Shoop was not offered the job during the meeting with Miles on Wednesday, but he was not ruled out, two sources closes to the coach told The Advocate. Shoop was pressured by Penn State coach James Franklin during this week-long dance with the Tigers, multiple sources say.

On local radio in Pennsylvania on Thursday morning, Shoop suggested LSU’s time frame for a hire was involved in his decision to pull out of the search.

“Ultimately when it came to their decision making time, Penn State was the best opportunity for me and my family,” he said.

Fox Sports reported on Thursday morning that Shoop was set to get a three-year contract with a salary “close to $1 million per year.”

Shoop was highly interested in the job to replace John Chavis, according to a source close to the coach, and the two sides had flirted since Chavis bolted for Texas A&M last week.

“I was flattered someone had reached out to me,” Shoop said during the radio interview. “I’m very loyal to Coach Franklin. Being from Pennsylvania, I have a dream job that 99.99 percent of people in my profession would trade places with me in a heart beat. It really wasn’t much of a decision when it came down to it.”

Shoop, 48, was one of very few coaches who interviewed with Miles for a job that’s getting a host of interest from around the nation. A salary for the new coordinator is expected to be similar to that of Chavis, who made $1.3 million a year, the third-highest of any assistant in the nation.

So where does LSU turn now? The Advocate reported Sunday night that defensive line coach Brick Haley has “not been ruled out” as a replacement for Chavis, who also coached linebackers.

Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009, the year Chavis started with the program as well. He’s been a defensive coordinator once – for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He coached linebackers for the Bears and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.

Haley’s promotion could make room for a popular name: Ed Orgeron. The former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach is out of a job and lives in Mandeville.

There are other names, too.

Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele continues to be a candidate, and Miles met with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops – and possibly others – in Dallas over the weekend.

Shoop wasn’t a flashy name, but he had captained some of the nation’s best defenses.

Shoop just completed his first season as coordinator with the Nittany Lions. Penn State was second nationally in total defense in 2014. He followed Franklin from Vanderbilt. Shoop served as defensive coordinator for three seasons at Vandy, helping Franklin and the Commodores win 24 games in 2011-13. Vandy was never outside of the top-25 in total defense those three years.

Shoop, a Pennsylvania native who played receiver at Yale, has stints as defensive coordinator at Yale (1994-96), Villanova (97), UMass (06) and William and Mary (07-10).

Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is “taking time” with the search and knows “the importance” of the hire, sources said. Still, a hire is expected by the weekend, but Shoop’s exit from the process could extend the search.

The recruiting dead period ends Jan. 15.

Penn State DC Bob Shoop to remain with Nittany Lions

Penn State coach Bob Shoop is, apparently, no longer a candidate to replace John Chavis. (AP)

Penn State coach Bob Shoop is, apparently, no longer a candidate to replace John Chavis. (AP)

Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop will remain a Nittany Lion, according a message posted on his Twitter account Wednesday night.

Shoop interviewed with LSU coach Les Miles earlier Wednesday, an expected move The Advocate reported Tuesday. It’s unclear if Shoop was offered the job to replace John Chavis, who bolted for Texas A&M a day after the Tigers lost the Music City Bowl to Notre Dame last week.

Shoop was highly interested in the position, according to a source close to the coach, but he felt pressure from head coach James Franklin during a week-long flirtation with LSU, sources said.

Shoop, 48, was one of very few coaches who interviewed with Miles for a job that’s getting a host of interest from around the nation. A salary for the new coordinator is expected to be similar to that of Chavis, who made $1.3 million a year, the third-highest of any assistant in the nation.

So where does LSU turn now? The Advocate reported Sunday night that defensive line coach Brick Haley has “not been ruled out” as a replacement for Chavis, who also coached linebackers.

Haley, 48, has been on LSU’s staff since 2009, the year Chavis started with the program as well. He’s been a defensive coordinator once – for three years at Baylor in 1999-2001. He coached linebackers for the Bears and has been a linebackers coach at three other stops during his coaching career.

Haley’s promotion could make room for a popular name: Ed Orgeron. The former Ole Miss coach and longtime Southern California defensive line coach is out of a job and lives in Mandeville.

There are other names, too.

Alabama linebackers coach Kevin Steele continues to be a candidate, and Miles met with Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops – and possibly others – in Dallas over the weekend.

Shoop wasn’t a flashy name, but he had captained some of the nation’s best defenses.

Shoop just completed his first season as coordinator with the Nittany Lions. Penn State was second nationally in total defense in 2014. He followed Franklin from Vanderbilt. Shoop served as defensive coordinator for three seasons at Vandy, helping Franklin and the Commodores win 24 games in 2011-13. Vandy was never outside of the top-25 in total defense those three years.

Shoop, a Pennsylvania native who played receiver at Yale, has stints as defensive coordinator at Yale (1994-96), Villanova (97), UMass (06) and William and Mary (07-10).

Miles, an offensive-minded coach who rarely dabbles in the defense, is “taking time” with the search and knows “the importance” of the hire, sources said. Still, a hire is expected by the weekend, but Shoop’s exit from the process could extend the search.

The recruiting dead period ends Jan. 15.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin and ex-LSU DC John Chavis spoke minutes before Tigers’ bowl game

John Chavis and Kevin Sumlin talked just before LSU's bowl game. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

John Chavis and Kevin Sumlin talked just before LSU’s bowl game. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Former LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis spoke on the phone with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin a few minutes before the Tigers’ kicked off against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl.

Sumlin confirmed Wednesday morning on ESPN radio that he was on the phone with Chavis last Tuesday in regards to a tweet posted by his pool boy about the conversation with the then-LSU coordinator.

“Just cleaned Sumlin’s pool. Saw him on the phone, hopefully with our new DC!” Rustin McFarland, a Texas A&M student and then-pool boy for Sumlin, tweeted.

The message was posted around 2:38 p.m. ET last Tuesday, according to a screengrab provided by Troy Machir, Sporting News’ senior social media editor. Sumlin responded to the tweet 11 minutes later, firing the pool boy.

(Troy Machir | Sporting News)

(Troy Machir | Sporting News)

LSU and Notre Dame kicked off in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, at 3 p.m. ET. Chavis left LSU for A&M after the bowl game, landing in a private plane with Sumlin in College Station, Texas, two days after the bowl.

LSU allowed 449 yards and a 71-yard game-winning field goal drive in a 31-28 loss to the Irish.

Former LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr. added to Pro Bowl roster

Odell Beckham Jr. made one of the greatest catches of the 2014 season, and beyond, in his rookie year. (AP)

Odell Beckham Jr. made one of the greatest catches of the 2014 season, and beyond, in his rookie year. (AP)

Odell Beckham Jr. will play in the Pro Bowl after all.

The former LSU receiver and NFL Rookie of the Year candidate will replace injured receiver Calvin Johnson in the league’s all-star game on Jan. 25 in Arizona.

Beckham, a New Orleans native drafted in the first round by the New York Giants last year, caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in his first season in the league. He also caught one of the most fantastic and talked-about catches of the season.

He was originally left out of the Pro Bowl, a move many thought was unfair for a guy who finished first in the league in receiving yards per game at 108.

Beckham had 1,117 yards receiving his last season at LSU in 2013, and he was an electric returner, too, averaging 9.3 yards a punt return and 25 yards a kickoff return. He won the Paul Hornung Award as  the nation’s most versatile player in college football.

Beckham and former LSU running back and current Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill are candidates for NFL Rookie of the Year.